Answers to your questions about Medical Transcription

Q: What is medical transcription?
A: Medical transcription is the process of converting dictated health records, consultation notes, surgical procedures etc into electronic or paper form.

Q: What does a medical transcriptionist (MT) do?
A: The MT listens to recordings or voice files, then types what they hear into the computer to generate medical reports. These reports form part of the treatment history of patients.

Q: Do you need medical background to become a MT?
A: No, you do not need prior medical training, but it can be an advantage. You will be taught medical terminology when you undergo MT training.

Q: Is it difficult to learn medical terminology?
A: Learning medical terminology is like learning a new language, in this case the language of medicine. You will be taught how to spell and understand medical terms by breaking down words into prefix-root word-suffix. This is easier and more effective than memorizing thousands of medical terms.

Q: Who can learn to become a MT?
A: You must be at least 18 years old and at the collegiate level. You must possess knowledge of basic computer operation and good keyboarding/typing skills. You must have a good command of English usage and grammar. You should have an inquisitive mind, and know how and when to use reference/research tools. If you like working on the computer and researching using the Internet, you may want to consider becoming a MT. It is also interesting to note that performance of MTs without medical background is comparable to MTs with medical background.

Q: Why is there a big demand for MTs?
A: The U.S. is presently the biggest market for medical transcription. The population in the U.S. is aging, which means that more and more people will need medical care and more and more medical reports will have to be made. In the U.S., there is a shortage of MTs, so the healthcare market has been going to other countries to outsource its medical transcription requirements.

Q: How much does a MT earn?
A: Entry-level MTs, i.e., those who work for the first time after finishing the MT training course, are hired at a starting monthly salary of around Php10,000. Depending on the level of performance and quality of work,
salary may increase to Php20,000 after a year.

Q: Is there a career path for MTs?
A: Definitely! MTs can rise up the corporate ladder to become Medical Editors, Senior Editors, Team Leaders, Quality Assurance Officers, Production and/or Operation Managers. They can also become Trainors and Training Managers. Individuals with initiative and determination may go on to become the General Managers of the whole company. On the other hand, entrepreneurial MTs may choose to become home-based.

Q: How much does a home-based MT earn?
A: Home-based MTs are typically paid per line of finished work. If you can do an average line count of 1,000 lines per day at 98% accuracy, the potential income can be Php30,000 per month. When you are home-based, the only limits to your earning potential are your physical capability and the number of hours you commit to transcription work.

Q: How long does it take to learn medical transcription?
A: The average duration of a complete medical transcription training program is 4 months, including On-the-Job Training. Students, who perform well during training, and especially during OJT, will most likely be hired immediately after graduation.

Q: Can a nurse become a MT?
A: Yes. So can doctors, dentists, physical therapists, and other healthcare practitioners. Some MT training centers and schools offer shortened programs for these professionals because of their medical background. But even if you are not a medical healthcare practitioner you can still become a medical transcriptionist.

Q: How does MT work compare with Call Center work?
A: MT and Call Center work are both IT-enabled (i.e., use technology). Both are Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industries. But unlike Call Center Agents, MTs are not continuously exposed to verbal abuse by clients. MTs listen to voice files only, and do not engage in live conversations. MTs typically work from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. shifts. Night or graveyard shifts are very minimal.